The Environment Bill – What Does it Mean for Air Quality Legislation?

Environment Bill

On 15 October 2019, the UK Government published the long-awaited final draft of the Environment Bill which aims to reshape environmental regulation and enforcement in the UK following Brexit.

The legislation only directly applies to England, with the exception of a small number of provisions that apply to Northern Ireland. However, the government envisions that, with the consent of the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, over half of the Environment Bill’s provisions will apply throughout the UK.

What Does the Environment Bill Mean for Air Quality?

To accelerate future improvements in air quality, the Environment Bill has outlined the Government’s intention to set ambitious, legally binding targets to reduce particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5µm (PM2.5) by 31 October 2022. To achieve these future targets, the Environment Bill proposes to enable national government to mandate manufacturers to recall vehicles when they do not meet the relevant legal emissions standards and increase Local Authority powers to address sources of air pollution within their area of jurisdiction.

It should be noted that although the Environment Bill has made commitments to specifically reduce concentrations of PM2.5 there is currently no legislative context for the pollutant.

Can Redmore Environmental Help You?

From an Air Quality perspective, PM2.5 looks set to become the pollutant of the future. Many councils are already requesting review of PM2.5 concentrations in Air Quality Assessments, despite the lack of legislative context for the pollutant. It is therefore likely that the potential exposure of future users at proposed developments to PM2.5 will play an increasingly important role in Air Quality Assessments in the future.

If you are concerned about how the introduction of the Environment Bill may affect your planning application, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our specialist team today to find out how we can help you.


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